In one word, Connect. In four better words: Connect with the connectors.
The fact is that small talk – the kind that happens between two people who don’t know each other – is the most important talk we do…
The one trait that was common among the class’s most accomplished graduates was “verbal fluency” (from a study of successful Stanford MBA graduates). In front of an audience, at a dinner, or in a cab, these people know how to talk. The more successfully you use language, the faster you can get ahead in life.
So what should your objective be in making small talk? Good question. The goal is simple: Start a conversation, keep it going, create a bond, and leave with the other person thinking, “I dig that person,” or whatever other generational variation of that phrase you want to use.
Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time: (The Ultimate Networker Reveals How to Build a Lifelong Community of Colleagues, Contacts, Friends, and Mentors)
So, this morning, I arrived at Success North Dallas early enough to have a few wonderful conversations before the program started, and then lingered after the session for more great conversations. I met new people; I exchanged a few substantive ideas back and forth with some folks. (And, yes we exchanged business cards). And, I simply enjoy being around these energizing folks.
(I had the luxury of a morning without appointments after the session – so I could linger leisurely for such conversations. It would be nice to be able to do that more often).
Now, the program was terrific. The speaker was Jeffrey Hayzlett – a dynamo; energetic, and insightful. (Success North Dallas
always finds good speakers).
And among the many things Bill Wallace, the leader of Success North Dallas, did was to ask the women in the room to stand. He talked about how, in the early days, there were not as many women attending, but now women are fully present, and the audience is a true mix of men and women. I liked that observation, and that new reality.
And, Bill also has a practice of inviting people “in transition” to stand, introduce themselves and their field of expertise, and then others are invited to meet them afterward with job suggestions and possibilities.
All in all, a great way to spend a morning once a month. If you’re in the Dallas area, check it out. (Here’s the web site for Success North Dallas).
But… back to the conversation value of the morning. A few years ago, I read in one of the business books I presented (sorry, no memory of which book, and this quote is definitely paraphrased):
Whenever you get an opportunity to have a conversation or lunch meeting with anyone – anyone at all – take it. You never know which of your next conversations will turn out to be truly helpful and/or profitable.
Yep! And among the many pluses of Success North Dallas, it is the conversations that provide great opportunity – every single meeting.
(A personal comment. Our event, the First Friday Book Synopsis, provides the same opportunity for such conversations. But, as the speaker and one half of the leadership team of that event, I am too “preoccupied” to have many such conversations at our own event. But… you should check out our event also).